MANILA (Mabuhay) – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Monday denied reports that 100,000 Filipinos were deported by Malaysian authorities during its ongoing crackdown of illegal foreign workers.
Earlier reports said thousands of Filipinos are staying in cramped evacuation camps in Bongao, Tawi-Tawi after being sent home from Malaysian-controlled Sabah – a resource-rich territory also being claimed by the Philippines.
“Upon verification with relevant sources, our embassy in Kuala Lumpur has determined that there is no truth to the news report,” Foreign Affairs spokesman Raul Hernandez said.
“Only 1,113 Filipinos from Sabah were processed from their return to their respective hometowns by the Department of Social Welfare and Development from January 1 to February 19,” he added.
Malaysia has renewed its crackdown on undocumented foreigners last Jan. 21.
Manila has repeatedly urged illegally-staying Filipinos in Malaysia to voluntarily return to the Philippines, warning that those who will be caught will be kept in detention while undergoing deportation proceedings.
Arrested individuals will also be subjected to biometric fingerprint registration to ensure that they would not be able to return to Malaysia under a different name.
Malaysia is home to thousands of Filipinos. Many of them, who hail from the Philippines’ poorest provinces in war-plagued Mindanao, are undocumented and reside in Sabah. (MNS)